Myth of North-South Racial Differences

December 18, 2019

Many people today think that Northern and Southern Italians are racially different, but that isn't based on reality or any kind of evidence, which all shows that they're genetically and phenotypically similar. It's a myth that was shaped within Italy itself by some very ignorant people with inferiority complexes, who brought it wherever they immigrated, where it was copied by even dumber Nordicists and Afrocentrists.

From the 17th c. Northern and Western European "barbarians" started surpassing Southern Europe and denigrating Italy as backwards, so insecure Northern Italians tried to win their acceptance by separating from the Mediterranean and making Southern Italians the new barbarians:

Over the course of the seventeenth century, a radical inversion in the relations of force and cultural prestige between Italy and western Europe took place. Model to and "master" of Europe since the fourteenth century (Le Goff 2074), during the 1600s Italy was dramatically upstaged by countries to the north and west of the Alps: Holland, England, and France. What was taking place in fact was a massive shift of geopolitical and economic power away from the Mediterranean world as a whole. [...] The Italians had lorded their economic power and cultural supremacy over the rest of Europe since the fourteenth century. Italian intellectuals referred to those beyond the Alps as barbarians, using a conceit dating back to the days of Petrarch and central to the consciousness of Italian elites right through the Risorgimento. Now the tables were turning.


The tendency to denigrate contemporary Italy and the Italians had thus become commonplace in the culture of western Europe by the mid-1700s and would continue well through the next century. These accusations, repeatedly voiced by the English, French, and increasingly by the Germans as well, would have a significant impact on Italian representations of Italy in the Risorgimento. [...] One of the key aspects of the national consciousness that developed in Italy in the century before unification was the necessity of confronting its inferiority vis-à-vis western Europe, both as it was expressed in foreign denunciations and as it manifested itself in the political, economic, and cultural domains more generally.


But throughout the century before unification, and especially in the decades leading up to 1860, the dominant emphasis was nevertheless on Italy's need to rise to the economic and cultural levels attained by western Europe. The problem of political independence could itself be posed in comparative terms. [...] Notwithstanding Italian claims to parity, if not primacy, it would not be the Mediterranean models that prevailed in the making of modern Italy but rather those of western Europe. As we shall see later in this study, this pressure to conform mounted in the middle of the nineteenth century, helping to split Italy into two parts, a European north and a south that deviated from the European model. [1]

The idea of the South as "not European" came from the ignorance of Northerners — including the unified country's first Prime Minister — who had made assumptions or heard rumors about the South but never traveled there or even bothered to learn about it honestly:

There was remarkably little travel and commerce between northern and southern portions of the peninsula and almost no effort to bridge the gulf of mutual ignorance between the two. [...] Prime Minister Cavour was a great admirer of Britain, France, and northern Europe. He had never been south of Florence, where he once spent a few restless days. His ignorance of what northerners called "Lower Italy" was astonishing. He believed, for example, that the people of Naples spoke Arabic as a legacy of African invasions. No wonder Cavour was horrified to learn in May 1860 that Garibaldi and a volunteer army of one thousand Italians, mostly from the North, were planning to carry the Risorgimento south. They planned to invade Sicily, ally with peasant uprisings there, and liberate the South from the rule of Ferdinand II, the Bourbon king. [2]

This false picture of the South led to the people there being "racialized" by Northerners, but also by an elite Southerner who threw his own under the bus. Their pseudo-scientific theories, and the stereotypes and prejudices that grew out of them, then spread through the culture and around the world, lasting to this day:

The cultural and political discourses that, post-unification, proceeded to represent a binarized relation between North and South would increasingly assume racializing and racist dimensions. An entire school of intellectuals devoted to the study of the South, as a "question" or "problem" to be analyzed and solved, was launched with the publication of Pasquale Villari's Lettere Meridionali (1875) (see Teti; Schneider; Petrusewicz; and Dickie). In 1876, Constantino Nigra, in his study of glottology and dialects in the context of popular Italian poetry, claimed to have identified an "ethnic substratum" which he believed explained the difference between "superior" and "inferior" Italy (Teti 15). This "ethnic substratum" was, argued Nigra, constituted by two "distinct races": the "Italici and the Arians, the Mediterraneans and the Celts" (qtd. in Teti 16). By the 1890s, Nigra's linguistic theory was elaborated and consolidated in the writings of the influential school of positivist anthropologists known as the Meridionalisti (Southernists). The important point to note was that the Meridionalisti, who were to exert an inordinate influence in the consolidation of negative Southern stereotypes in Northern Italian politics and culture, were not exclusively Northerners. One of the most influential, and racist, Meridionalisti was in fact a Sicilian, Alfredo Niceforo. Niceforo can be seen as a super-assimilated Southerner who exemplifies the paradoxical and convoluted logic of assimilation. In writing the most vilifying and condemnatory "scientific" and "rational" accounts of Southern barbarism, savagery and backwardness, Niceforo strove to efface his own Southern status and to secure a Northern identity coextensive with civility and reason.

Drawing on the work of the positivist anthropologist and craniologist Giuseppe Sergi, who argued that the difference between Southerners and Northerners lay in the existence of two distinct races, Niceforo proceeds to name these two distinct races and to articulate their respective attributes: "Today Italy is divided into two zones, inhabited by two different races, the Arians in the North, delimited by the Tuscan border (Celts and Slavs), and the Mediterraneans in the South" (78). Niceforo invokes another racial theorist, A. Mosso, in order further to differentiate Northerners from Southerners: "The population of Northern Italy is little different from the Anglo-Saxon race" (79). As the contemporary Calabrian historian, Vito Teti, illustrates in his The Damned Race: The Origins of Anti-Southern Prejudice, the racist theories of Niceforo and fellow Meridionalisti were quickly taken up and reproduced at the levels of both popular and high culture. They continue to shape contemporary perceptions of the South.

The racial theories of the Meridionalisti supply the foundations for the anti-Southern xenophobia of such contemporary political parties as the Northern League. One of the pamphlets circulated by the Northern League in the early 1990s consisted of a map of Italy titled "The Integral Solution to All Our Problems" (see Dickie 136 for a reproduction of this map). The map shows an Italy divided by a "Liberation Canal" that neatly divides the Italian peninsula into two parts: Northern Italy is constituted by the Northern provinces of Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto; adjacent to Northern Italy is "Southern Italy," constituted by the (Northern) provinces of Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria and Emilia-Romagna. All the provinces south of Florence are gathered under the title of the "Island of New Africa." The Island of New Africa is separated from "New Italy" by a sea-channel termed the "Liberation Canal," which effectively splits the country in half. The "Liberation Canal" is bordered by a "2 km. high protective laser barrier." This map graphically illustrates the vigor and resilience of the racist theories that have shaped the political and cultural landscape of Italy since so-called "unification." The imagining of Southern Italy as Northern Italy's "Africa," first enunciated in the nineteenth-century, finds its logical culmination in a type of spatial apartheid that finally severs the peninsula into two different nations: "New Italy" and "New Africa."

What I have offered so far is really only a synoptic mapping of the complex and entrenched history of anti-Southern racism in the Italian context. The important point that the historian Vito Teti makes in his history of anti-Southern racism is that these racist theories and prejudices were exported outside Italy and proceeded to inform the attitudes towards Southern Italians in other parts of the world, including Europe, the UK, the USA and Australia (all destinations for Southern Italian immigrants). [3]

Niceforo was an immature idiot who attempted to use things like poverty, crime, illiteracy etc. to support his racial theories — a lot like what happened with the Irish and what modern idiots like Richard Lynn are bringing back:

Alfredo Niceforo published L'Italia barbara contemporanea at the age of only twenty-two; it was to be the beginning of a distinguished academic career. Niceforo's hypothesis is that Sicily, Sardinia, and the southern mainland are stagnating at an inferior level of social evolution to the northern and central provinces. In support of his case, Niceforo invokes what he calls the "magical power" of statistical evidence in those fields (crime, education, birth rates, mortality, suicide, and the economy), which for the Italian school of positivist social anthropology were the key measures of the state of civilization of a society (Niceforo 15). For example, whereas the North is characterized by crimes of fraud, southern crime is predominantly violent, like brigandage; or, like the mafia, it is the result of an Arabic or medieval spirit of independence and rebellion against the principle of authority (Niceforo 45). Low literacy rates and the prevalence of superstitious practices, such as those surrounding the lottery, betray the "state of crass and primitive ignorance" in the population of Naples in particular (Niceforo 80).

Having set out the statistical basis of his contention, Niceforo proceeds to give a more detailed portrait of the "collective psyche" of the populations of Sardinia, Sicily, and the mainland Mezzogiorno (Niceforo 179, 184). In the Sicilian countryside, for example, he observes a "hatred for the spread of culture of a kind characteristic of societies that are not just inferior, but truly barbaric" (Niceforo 197). Outside of the cities, the Sicilian character "reminds one of the Orient and of out-and-out feudalism." In their "morbid conception of their own dignity" and their overbearing pride and love of pomp, the Sicilian aristocracy in particular present the scientific onlooker with "a stratification of the past which is still tenacious" (Niceforo 203–209). The wild lower orders of Sicily's urban population are capable of acts of "cannibalistic ferocity" and of scenes "that an African tribe would hardly have committed" (Niceforo 210–211). Sicilians in general display a love of weapons and aggression—"an essential characteristic of primitive and almost savage peoples," according to Niceforo (Niceforo 212).

L'Italia barbara contemporanea concludes that the backwardness of the South is in part determined by the fact that its population of "Mediterraneans" is a different race to the "Aryans" of the North (Niceforo 288ff). Niceforo follows Giuseppe Sergi in seeing the supposedly distinctive cranial form of Southern Italians as proof of this difference, which is the root cause of the greater individualism of the South and superior sense of social organization of the North. Niceforo maintains that Italy's hopes for the future rest on its becoming a federal state, since specific forms of government are necessary to deal with the distinct characteristics of each region. Government must be authoritarian in the South and liberal in the North (Niceforo 297). [4]

Another influential but surprising anti-Southerner was Cesare Lombroso. He was from Northern Italy, but he was Jewish, and he projected anti-Semitic racial prejudices against Jews onto Southern Italians to make himself accepted by Northerners and other Europeans:

When Lombroso discussed the relation of race to current issues of his day, he seemed less concerned with inhabitants of non-Western lands than with those of the Italian south. Like other northern Italians, Lombroso was perplexed by the so-called Southern Question, the debate about the supposed backwardness of southern Italy, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Home to brigandage and criminal organizations like the Mafia and Camorra, the south seemed violent and lawless to northern observers. Lombroso offered a complex answer to the Southern Question, one that included a social critique of southern elites for monopolizing landownership and a political condemnation of the national government for failing to alleviate southern poverty, disease, and illiteracy. Despite his recognition of these environmental barriers to prosperity in the south, Lombroso nevertheless emphasized the importance of race for explaining high rates of violent crime. Having been conquered over the centuries by a number of foreign peoples — including North African Arabs — the south was inhabited by a racially mixed people, who, in Lombroso's view, shared a propensity for murder with their nonwhite ancestors.

Lombroso offered a more subtle analysis of the behavior of Jews, another group included in his chapter on race. His own Jewish ancestry partially accounts for his refusal to characterize Jewish behavior in simple biological rather than more complex sociological terms. Aware of the frightening rise during the last decades of the nineteenth century of racial anti-Semitism in northern Europe, Lombroso argued that Jewish patterns of behavior derived from the historical legacy of persecution rather than from innate racial characteristics. He contended that Jews have high arrest rates for property crimes like fraud and receiving stolen goods because legislation in most European nations traditionally forbade them to follow any professions besides peddling or commerce. As proof that atavism is not intrinsic to the Jewish character, Lombroso cites the rapid movement of Jews into important positions in politics, the army, and academia once they gained the same civil rights as their Christian compatriots. [5]

Lombroso was so self-hating and delusional that while he was claiming that Southern Italians were mostly Semitic and alien to Europe, he believed that Jews were mostly Aryan and could easily assimilate:

Though Lombroso considered the Jews to be more Aryan than Semitic, he was highly critical of some Jewish religious rites, including circumcision. While Lombroso invoked notions of racial science in his research, he ultimately held that the so-called Jewish Problem would disappear as Jews modernized and became more assimilated into European society. [6]

Lombroso and Niceforo were both motivated by embarrassment over Italy's recent military loss to an Ethiopian army, and they tried to blame it on Southern Italians:

Both Lombroso's In Calabria, 1862-1897 and Niceforo's L'Italia barbara contemporanea drew upon the new science of race to explain Italy's economic and military problems, which they attributed to the backwardness of southern Italy. Not surprisingly, Lombroso's and Niceforo's books appeared in the aftermath of Italy's startling military defeat at the hands of Abyssinian forces at Adowa. [6]

Like in the early days, today the idea of "the South" is an exaggeration needed by the North to deal with its insecurities and make it feel more Northwestern European:

The early impressions of this "other Italy" exaggerated the alien qualities of the South and reassured northern Italians of their own European affinities. Africa began below Rome. "Christ stopped at Eboli," according to one local expression. Above "lower Italy" was a Christian, European civilization; below it existed something else indeed. [...] One Italian cartoon [made by northern separatists] that circulated clandestinely in the 1990s illustrates "the complete solution to all our problems" with a map showing Italy cut in two by a wide "liberation channel" that divides the peninsula just below Florence. To the south the map shows the "Island of New Africa" and "Mafioso Realm." Each side of the channel has protective barriers two kilometers high, one side electrified, the other armed with laser sensors to keep southern migrants out of the North. The channel is filled with "terrone-eating" sharks and piranhas. North of the channel is Northern Italy and, significantly, a new "Southern Italy" below the Po Valley. Even a separate Northern Italy might need its South. [2]


  1. Nelson Moe. The View from Vesuvius: Italian Culture and the Southern Question. Berkeley, Los Angeles & London: The University of California Press, 2002.
  2. Don H. Doyle. Nations Divided: America, Italy, and the Southern Question. Athens & London: The University of Georgia Press, 2002.
  3. Joseph Pugliese. "Diasporic Architecture, Whiteness and the Cultural Politics of Space: In the Footsteps of the Italian Forum". Thamyris/Intersecting, No. 14, 23-50, 2007.
  4. John Dickie. Darkest Italy: The Nation and Stereotypes of the Mezzogiorno, 1860-1900. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.
  5. Mary Gibson and Nicole Hahn Rafter. "Editors' Introduction" to Cesare Lombroso's Criminal Man. Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2006.
  6. William Brustein. Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe before the Holocaust. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003


Onur Dincer said...

Thanks for the post. Still, Southern Italians (including Sicilians) are genetically easily distinguishable from Northern Italians, Central Italians bridging the gap between them. But it is true that the genetic differences between Northern Italians and Southern Italians are not high enough to cause big phenotypic differences between them. Also, the major genetic contributions that differentiate Southern Italians from Northern Italians (e.g., higher Caucasus Hunter-Gatherer-like ancestry, lower steppe ancestry) are not things that make people particularly more swarthy. The modern Northern-Southern conflict in Italy is more to do with the historical, developmental and cultural differences than anything else. Its roots go back to the later Middle Ages, to the times of the conflicts between the Byzantine Empire and the Catholic West.

Under the Byzantine rule Southern Italy was more civilized and developed than the rest of Italy and the acquisition of Sicily by Muslims did not affect it much either in that sense as Muslims themselves were in a higher stage of development than Western Europe too back then. But with the loss of Southern Italy to Normans during the late 11th century and later the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by the 4th Crusade and the following transfer of the riches of the Byzantine Empire to the West, in which Northern Italians, in principle Venetians and Piedmont, played the major role, things drastically reversed in Italy, and the later Turkish encroaches in the Anatolian and European territories of the Byzantine Empire would draw more Greek scholars to the Northern and Central Italian cities than to the Southern Italian cities, triggering the start of the Renaissance in Northern and Central Italy rather than the South.

But today a new generation of Southern Italians and Maltese, more conscious of their origins and past, are rediscovering their Hellenic and Byzantine roots and proudly declaring their allegiance to the Greek cause. They have no interest in being the work force and at the same time scapegoats of Northern Italians, whom they regard as northern barbarians and look with contempt rather than envy.

Sarah Nikas said...

How unsuprising that Jews play a leading role in yet another one of europe's plagues. Quite a heavy dose of irony, here.

Other than maybe the greek minority living in italy, I don't think southern italians view themselves as greek, however. They were the first to be called italian in the first place (oenotrian italiotes). If you read the book "the last struggle against the mafia", Cesare mori actually refutes quite a bit of these views on the criminality of sicily having anything to do with some fantasy claim of racial differences. Instead he attributes it chiefly to the several hundred years of brutal rule the spanish imposed over the population, which included amassing 80% of land wealth amongst the spanish and papal aristocracy. In this sense, criminal organizations like the mafia were birthed under robinhood-esque ideals of robbing and blackmailing their conquerors to restore wealth to the impoverished natives. Obviously the original ideals were perverted over time while the power structure remained in place, turning into something more ugly, but Mori truly did believe in the nobility of the original ideal.

Palermo Trapani said...

Omar Duncer: Your post is reasonably accurate. Two recent studies are consistent with your post. The first one is by Sazzini et al. (2016) which documents 4 Italian clusters, closely related that is, but still distinct clusters.

1) Sardinia, 2)Sicily-Southern Italy, 3) Central Italy, and 4) Northern Italy. Figure 2 provides the information on the clusters. It is clear that Greeks cluster right next to Sicily-Southern Italy and Central Italian cluster, while the Northern Italian Cluster's closest non Italian Clusters are Spanish and French Populations. Getting back to the Sicily-Southern Italian cluster, there is a break and then Cypriot populations then another break then you see peoples from the Levant and West-Asia forming a cluster.

As you noted, Sicily-Southern Italy, and Central Italy as well, has significant Caucus Hunter Gather DNA. Raevene et al. (2019). I read a study that suggest that the Steppe Migration can be modeled as 57% Eastern Hunter Gather and 43% CHG. My conjecture is the steppe migration peoples on the Southern Flank of the Steppe had higher CHG ancestry relative to EHG whereas the Steppe migration into Central and Northern Europe in particular, had more EHG ancestry. Once again, as in Sazzini et al. (2016), Central Italy clusters closer to South and Sicily, except Tuscany which clusters a little closer to the North. See Figure 2 for the information. All Italian clusters are made up of significant Early European Farmer DNA from Anatolia.

They also document an Iran Neolithic component in Sicily-Southern Italy which is why most Americans of Italian ancestry from the South and Sicily are getting more signals or markers from West Asia and Levant as the Iranian Neolithic peoples were a significant source population for peoples of the Levant and other parts of West Asia.

Blogger said...


As an Italian, I have to say that much of what is written in this article is false. I am not necessarily accusing the blog author, since his conclusions are probably based on the sources that he are quoting from and I don't know what he would have thought prior to reading these, but the quoted sources are very wrong on several points and in general very biased. All in all it reads to me like a page taken out of meridionalist and anti-risorgimentalist propaganda, and crafted into a nice revisionist narrative to blame "the north" rather than the real culprits, almost in the style of someone like Pino Aprile (a discredited author famous in Italy for his southernist historical revisionism).

Anyway, some of the points that need to be corrected:

1) The idea that the South is "not European" did NOT come from "the ignorance of Northerners". The ignorant nordicist-type assertions can be found already in the writings of authors from England and other countries beyond the Alps, long before any Italians began to seriously repeat similar claims. For example, in 'The Penny Cyclopaedia' (vol. XXI) published in 1841 by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, it asserts:

"The ancient Sicilian population was formed out of a mixture of various nations... There was also an admixture of Punic blood... the Saracens came, and the Arab and Moorish race remained in Sicily for more than two centuries. Then came the Normans, and after them the Aragonese or Spaniards... From all these races the actual Sicilians are derived... Accordingly there is considerable difference of complexion and appearance among the inhabitants. The Sicilians are generally dark, and yet we sometimes see complexions as fair as in the north of Italy. ... The Sicilian is naturally impassioned and amorous, fond of music and of song; he is prone to revenge, but is susceptible of a high degree of social refinement."

Even if the British author did not intend these words to be polemical, since he also adds some compliments towards Sicilians in other sentences not cited here, nonetheless the ridiculous claim of Sicilians being 'mixed race' (with Semites and Saracens), together with other stereotypes about 'the Sicilian character', are clearly present in this passage, and similar claims are found in many other texts by writers from northern and central Europe, written long before scientific racism was introduced in Italy. The hostility and false racial assertions about southern Italians originally came from ignorant non-Italians, not from "ignorant northern Italians".

2) There is no evidence that Cavour ever claimed that "the people of Naples spoke Arabic as a legacy of African invasions". On its face this is so ridiculous that I am not sure how anyone could believe that Cavour truly believed this. Naturally the author who is cited here — Don H. Doyle, an American author — does not himself cite any source whatsoever for this assertion. If an author is going to make such an outrageous claim, it would be right to provide a primary source — or any source at all — rather than making a quick drive-by claim without any evidence and expecting us to simply believe it.

Moreover the claim that Cavour "had never been south of Florence" is patently false. Just to cite one example, in October 1860 he was in Teramo, in Abruzzo, where he corresponded with the abruzzese governor Pasquale De Virgilii, while on November 7, 1860 the King himself famously rode alongside Garibaldi through the streets of Naples, where they were met with applause and welcomed by the Neapolitan populace (see among other sources: "Gli avvenimenti d'Italia del 1860", vol. II, Tipografia di Gio. Cecchini editore, Venezia 1861). No one believed nor even entertained the notion that they spoke Arabic...

Blogger said...


The only source I could find which claims that Cavour "never traveled south of Florence" is a 2004 book by Vittorio Messori, which is not at all surprising. He is a revisionist writer whose work holds no scholarly credibility in Italy. He famously likened the Italians of the Risorgimento to "Nazis" and said they should have been executed. Messori studied under socialist professor Alessandro Garrone, thus his anti-national hysteria and intellectual dishonesty are wholly expected.

Even if it were true that Cavour never traveled south of Florence, it would make little difference. This claim is merely being presented in an attempt to paint a false picture: namely that Cavour was against southerners (false) and that he was in some way responsible for the myths about southern Italy (also false).

3) The claim that "This false picture of the South led to the people there being racialized by Northerners..." and that their "pseudo-scientific theories, and the stereotypes and prejudices...then spread through the culture and around the world..." is also a load of bunk.

In the first place, as already shown, the stereotypes and "racialization" of southern Italians were already long spread by the English and other transalpine authors, not by northern Italians. Those ideas were imported into Italy, not born in Italy. In the second place, the "Southern Question" which was posed in the 19th century and continues today is a Socio-economic question which had nothing to do with race. The Southern Question pertains to how to solve the economic disparity that has affected the southern regions for the last several centuries. Either the quoted author has no idea what he is talking about, or he is intentionally (therefore dishonestly) confounding the Southern Question with the writings of racial anthropologists which are an entirely different category.

Furthermore, the works of men like Niceforo are confined almost entirely to the 20th century, long after the Risorgimento, so anything he wrote has no connection to any supposed "northern Italian racialized thought" of those who unified the country. And moreover his works were not even influential in the slightest. No one today (nor yesterday) knows who Niceforo is, except for a select few modern southern polemicists who seek to make his name known so that they can create a boogeyman: a Hitler-like figure that purported victims can blame and condemn for all evils. The reality is that he was an incredibly minor figure whose works do not even enter into the discussion when considering the Southern Question. Southernerists like De Sanctis and even the Communist Gramsci are far more well-known and influential in Italian popular and intellectual currents.

4) This following passage makes it painfully clear that the author is not Italian and does not have a clue as to the subject he is discussing: "The racial theories of the Meridionalisti supply the foundations for the anti-Southern xenophobia..."

Aside from the fact that Meridionalist writings have absolutely nothing to do with racial science, the Meridionalisti were and are Southernists, i.e. southern or pro-southern writers who generally view things from a southern perspective or bias, sometimes are staunchly anti-northern chauvinists (especially the more recent ones), and almost always are ideologically Left. Such authors almost always come from southern regions or at least sympathize with those from the south, the most famous being:

- Antonio Gramsci, Communist from Sardinia
- Francesco Nitti, radical from Basilicata
- Gaetano Salvemini, socialist from Puglia

And in more recent times (sometimes called 'Sudisti' to distinguish them as a more radical brand of revisionists):

- Pino Aprile, Communist from Puglia
- Antonio Ciano, Communist from Gaeta
- Lorenzo Del Boca, Communist from Piedmont

Blogger said...


How completely absurd then to claim that the pro-southern "Meridionalisti" have "supplied the foundations" for "anti-Southern xenophobia". It makes no sense.

5) At least it is admitted here that Lombroso was a Jew; frequently his Jewishness is ignored, when he was no more "Italian" than Marx was "German": both were strongly influenced by their Jewish backgrounds and had contempt for non-Jews. Nevertheless the attempt to depict Lombroso as some sort of representative of "northern Italian anti-southernism" is dishonest and wrong. There is not a single Italian author from northern Italy during that time period who wrote anything comporable to what Lombroso wrote. You will find his statements or similar ones echoed in plenty of German, English and French works of the time (and long before his time), but you will not find comporable statements expressed in any notable Italian works of the time, and certainly not by anyone who had any significant influence over intellectual and political discourse.

The only Italian who is cited is Niceforo, who, as mentioned already, was an irrelevant and non-influential figure whose career took off in the 20th century decades after Lombroso, and who, as the article itself admits, was a Sicilian, not a northerner. Where then are all these northern Italian authors expressing such anti-southern sentiment and diffusing it throughout the world? Nowhere, apparently.

True anti-southern xenophobia in Italy was born only in the late 20th century with Lega Nord. Prior to this, there was no significant anti-southern movement or current within Italy. And the attempts to try to link such sentiment all the way back to the Risorgimento is southernist revisionism at its worst.

Once again, the claims and general tone of hostility towards "the north" in these quoted passages seem to be taken out of some kind of polemical southernist or anti-risorgimento propaganda. And no wonder, since one of the sources being quoted in this article is Nelson J. Moe (an American professor fascinated with the Marxist theoretician Gramsci), and in crafting his narrative about Italy Moe makes use of sources such as Gaetano Arfé (a 20th century Neapolitan Marxist journalist) and Ernesto Ragionieri (a member of the Central Committee of the Italian Communist Party).

Perhaps the blog author is unaware of this, but he is quoting what is essentially a Communist work rooted in an ideologically Marxist interpretation of Italian history — one which (falsely) views southern Italy as an exploited victim of northern oppression and hatred, and which seeks to deconstruct Italy and Italian identity itself by fostering a divide between north and south. Therefore it is ironic that while the purpose of this article is to rightly condemn the false notion of "north-south racial differences", in doing so it is relying on meridionalist revisionism and Marxist polemical works which seek to undermine Italian national unity by cultivating the very same myths and artificial divisions which the article is opposing.

Blogger said...

[1/7] Reply to Onur Dincer:

I swear, sometimes it seems like some of you people exist just to make things up about Italy.

1) Being that you are apparently a Turk (judging by your Turkish name), I seriously doubt you have any idea how Italians feel or how they perceive themselves. More on this later.

2) Southern Italians do not have "Hellenic and Byzantine roots". The vast majority of southern Italy was never settled by Greeks. Not even Sicily was ever completely settled by Greeks. This myth is spread by those who have an incredibly simplistic view of history (i.e., those who think in terms of "Celtic north" and "Greek south") and who evidently have little to no knowledge of Italian geography.

Only very few parts of southern Italy were colonized in ancient times by Greeks, limited only to the coasts. For the most part the Greeks set up trading stations and port cities; unlike the Romans, the Greeks rarely ventured beyond the coasts.

Thus the regions of Abruzzo, Molise, the interior of Campania, the northern and central areas of Puglia, the interior of Calabria and the interior of Basilicata, were not colonized by the Greeks. Most of Sicily was never colonized by the Greeks either: their settlement was confined to the eastern part of the island, and they were unable to penetrate the remaining two-thirds of Sicily.

Moreover, when the Greeks arrived in Italy they did not discover an empty peninsula. Southern Italy and Sicily were already densely-populated by Italic tribes: Samnites, Oscans, Ausoni, Brutti, Lucani, Enotri, Morgeti, Sicels, etc. In fact the attempted hellenization of Sicily in antiquity was so limited that still in the 5th century BC (three centuries removed from the founding of Syracuse) we find a figure like Ducetius, a leader of the native Sicels who opposed the Greeks that had subjugated them.

People also seem to be unaware of the fact that many of the places that Greeks colonized were already inhabited by the aforementioned tribes. Let's consider some of the historical centers of Calabria, for example: Reggio Calabria and Crotone were founded by Greeks, but the area was originally inhabited by Italic tribes (Ausoni and Enotri). The oldest coins found at Reggio Calabria use an Oscan language. Catanzaro was founded by the Byzantines, but the area was originally inhabited by Italics (Enotri).

Meanwhile, Cosenza was founded by Italics (Brutti); Corigliano was founded by Italics (Ausoni or Enotri); Sant'Eufemia Lamezia, Rossano, Rende, Vibo Valentia, Castrovillari, Acri, Palmi, Cassano all'Ionio, Bisignano and Paola were all founded by Italic peoples (Ausoni, Enotri and/or Morgeti).

The peoples that populated the ancient Greek colonies were not only Greek either: many were hellenized Italics. For more information, see: Prof. Mario Cappieri, «La composition ethnique de la population italienne» (1977). He estimates that the Greek colonists in Italy numbered no more than 33,000 men, whereas southern Italy and Sicily in 600 BC would have been inhabited by some 1.6 million Italics and aboriginal tribes. It is totally untenable to think that the majority of southern Italians have "Greek roots" that they need to "rediscover".

Blogger said...

[2/7] Reply to Onur Dincer:

If anyone should be rediscovering their roots, perhaps it is the Greeks themselves. After all, Greece was far more extensively colonized by Italians than the other way around. Recall, for example, that ancient cities such as Cortinth and Thessalonica were Latin-speaking under Rome, after being colonized by Italian settlers. The Venetians settled and ruled lands such as Crete and the Ionian Islands for much longer than the Byzantines held Sicily. Indeed, if one considers the Roman period (400+ years) and Venetian periods (464 years), that is nearly one thousand years of Latin heritage in Crete.

Moreover, in more recent times there have been far more prominent people from Greece of known Italian heritage, than the opposite case. For example, Ugo Foscolo, who was a Corfiot Italian; or the Cretan poet Vitsentzos Kornaros, who was also an Corfiot Italian; and the most famous modern Greek statesman Ioannis Kapodistrias, who was an Italian of Istro-Venetian descent. In the 19th century there were still many Corfiot Italians (as well as many other ethnic groups throughout Greece), until the Greek authorities closed down their schools and forced them to become Greeks.

So perhaps it is the Greeks who should rediscover their still relatively recent Italian heritage (as well as Albanian, Vlach and Turkish heritage), rather than asking Italians to associate themselves with a dead oriental empire which has been completely alien to them for the last 1000 years?

3) Southern Italy was absolutely not "more civilized and developed than the rest of Italy" under Under the Byzantine rule. Byzantine rule in Italy was notoriously neglectful, treated as a backwater periphary of the Empire by the Byzantine authorities.

Meanwhile, during that same period, Italian republics and city-states already began to rise in the north (Venice, Genoa), in the center (Pisa, Ancona), and even in the south (Amalfi, Gaeta). The non-byzantine Abbey of Montecassino (straddled between center and south) was a center of learning and home to one of the most important libraries in Europe; in the non-byzantine south, the first medical school was founded in Salerno in the 9th century; while in the center-north the world's first university arose in Bologna in 1088.

One has to be completely unaquainted with Italian history to imagine that the Byzantine-held territories in Calabria and Puglia were "more civilized" than Genoa, Venice, Bologna, or even more advanced than Salerno, Amalfi and Montecassino. By the 13th century, northern and central Italy had become the most literate society in the world ― something which was not achieved over night ― while the south was already falling far behind, thanks in no small part to the Byzantines who did nothing to foster a literate society nor socio-economic improvement in southern Italy.

In terms of civilization, the Byzantine period in southern Italy produced virtually nothing worthy of note in the sphere of literature, sciences or art. Even the few things which are sometimes erroneously attributed to them (such as the Cathedral of Monreale), are not even Byzantine, but instead date to the Norman period. The real cultural flourishing of southern Italy began with the Sicilian School of poetry in the 13th century, by Italian poets such as Giacomo da Lentini.

Blogger said...

[3/7] Reply to Onur Dincer:

4) Related to the previous point: the north was already advancing beyond the south long before the Norman conquest. The attempt to tie southern Italy's fate to the 11th century Norman conquest and the Fourth Crusade is beyond ridiculous. In the first place, northern Italian cities were already beginning to ascend as early as the 9th century, while the Byzantine-held southern territories had been virtually stagnant for centuries. A city like Venice, founded as it was in the middle of a lagoon using a petrified wood foundation, was already a feat of engineering in and of itself which demonstrated an ingenuity unrivaled anywhere else in the peninsula at that time.

In the second place, if these northern cities had not already advanced, then how was it that a Fourth Crusade (in addition to the previous crusades) was possible in the first place? Why would an ex-byzantine emperor such as Alexios Angelos flee to the Germans and Venetians for help, if they were in a state of such civilizational inferiority? No such crusade could have taken place in the first place unless these states were already ascendant and powerful, with high naval knowledge (especially in the case of Venice) and impressive engineering capabilities.

5) To claim that Greek scholars "triggered the start of the Renaissance in northern and central Italy" is total Byzaboo revisionism. And to claim, moreover, that this is the reason why it began in northern and central Italy rather than in the south (as if to imply that there was ever a realistic chance for it to happen in the south), is completely delusional.

Let's address the first claim. First of all, the Italian Renaissance was already in full swing in the 14th century and had nothing to do with Greek scholars or the demise of the Byzantine Empire. The Father of the Renaissance, Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) had already discovered Cicero's letters in 1345 — an entire century before the fall of Byzantium — while Brunelleschi had already developed linear perspective and determined how to build the dome of Florence decades before the Greeks began to flee from Constantinople. Moreover, most of the Greeks who fled were ordinary people, not scholars, and they primarily fled to Venetian territories — not to Florence, which is where the Renaissance began.

As Jonathan Harris of the Hellenic Institute at the University of London pointed out:

“The picture of the Byzantines as restorers of Greek letters was carried further in a famous passage by Edward Gibbon... Yet the image of the Byzantine exiles as venerable scholars fleeing with their books under their arms represents both an exaggeration and an understatement. It exaggerates the part played by individual Byzantines in the revival of Greek learning in Italy, while ignoring the vast majority of the emigres, who were involved in no scholarly activity whatsoever.”

Secondly, despite the flourishing of the Sicilian School of poetry, the medical school in Salerno and the intellectual activities of Montecassino Abbey, the Renaissance was never going to spring from the south, because the socio-historical conditions which led to the Renaissance did not exist in southern Italy.

The Renaissance was not a random occurrence which took place by accident thanks to a bunch of magical Greek scholars bringing lost knowledge to uncivilized Italians. The Renaissance was an organic product of the society which had been developing in northern and central Italy since at least the 9th century. Among the major changes and developments that occurred was autonomy from the Holy Roman Empire and the abolition of feudalism. Another major societal change was the rise of a middle class or a merchant class in the northern and central Italian cities. There were several other factors as well, such as urbanization and the rise in literacy, so that already by the 13th century — a century before the Renaissance is said to have officially began — northern and central had already become the most literate regions not only in Italy, but in the world.

Blogger said...

[4/7] Reply to Onur Dincer:

As Mario Mignone (an Italian-American professor from southern Italy) said:

"During the 11th to the 13th centuries big changes took place: a rise in population with the emergence of huge cities (Venice, Florence, and Milan, had over 100,000 inhabitants by the 13th century, and many others surpassed 50,000, such as Genoa, Bologna, Verona); the rebuilding of great cathedrals; a substantial migration from country to city (the rate of urbanization reached 20%, the most urbanized society in the world at that time); an agrarian revolution; and the development of commerce. This expansion of society was fuelled by rapidly expanding commerce. By the 13th century, northern and central Italy had become the most literate society in the world."

All of these developments combined created the conditions for the Italian Renaissance to emerge there.

By contrast, in southern Italy and Sicily feudalism was not formally abolished until 1806 and 1812, while the society under the Bourbons never gave rise to any middle class, since power remained in the hands of the old landowning barons. Thus was created in the Middle Ages a society in which there were essentially two disparate classes: the extreme poor and the extreme wealthy. Neither the Byzantines, nor Normans, nor French, nor Spaniards, ever did anything to foster the development of a type of society in southern Italy which could create the conditions that would give rise to something like the Renaissance. Except for the the brief Norman and Hohenstaufen periods, these regions of Italy have been completely neglected and in some cases exploited by its various rulers in the Middle Ages. It was only after Italian Unification (1861 to today) that attention, programs, money and resources have poured into southern Italy in an attempt to bring it up to par — economically — with the rest of the country. Hence why, despite still being far behind due primarily to long-lasting historical conditions, the southern regions today are in the best and most developed state they have been in since at least the 6th century.

6) You said that "The modern Northern-Southern conflict in Italy is more to do with the historical, developmental and cultural differences than anything else. Its roots go back to the later Middle Ages..."

No it doesn't. It goes back a few decades, precisely to the decades after World War II. Following the war, Marxist interpretations of the Risorgimento and Italian history (promoted by men like Gramsci and Salvemini) became mainstream and widely-embraced by intellectuals, while anything remotely associated with nationalism or national unity is associated with Fascism. As a result there has been a concerted effort on the part of post-war governments and intellectuals to sow division among Italians and deconstruct Italian identity. Regionalism thus became the cause du jour.

During the same time period, there was a wide-scale internal migration from the south to the north, motivated by economic reasons. There were also government programs which poured money into the south in order to help its economy. The internal migration and economic policy was disliked by a small clique of northern politicians, who claimed that the government's policies favoured the South. This led to the creation of regionalist parties in the 1980's: Liga Veneta (1980), Lega Lombarda (1982) and others, which were then joined together into a single party known as as Lega Nord in 1989, under the ex-Communist Umberto Bossi.

Blogger said...

[5/7] Reply to Onur Dincer:

These movements were – and still are – purely driven by economic considerations (especially taxes and wealth distribution), but ever since these parties were founded, its leaders and supporters have masked their economic goals by depicting their political agitation as an ethnic struggle, inventing the artificial and unhistorical concept of 'Padania'; proclaiming northerners to be "Celto-Germanic"; spreading polemics against southerners and against Italy itself; and using every means to cause division between Italians.

In response to this, certain southern writers began to take up the cause of neo-bourbonism, but paradoxically were also strongly influenced by Marxist thought – especially Gramsci and Salvemini. Thus in the 1990's and 2000's these Marxist-inspired polemicists have forged a counter-myth, offering to their readers a revisionist version of history which can be described as a southern Italian equivalent of American "Afrocentrism", according to which the south was a land of wealth and progress under the benevolent rule of wise kings before being "plundered by northern oppressors" who "stole all their wealth" and caused the south to become economically depressed.

This false Marxist narrative has been spread by southernist writers, mostly in response to the false racial myths promoted by Lega Nord. Meanwhile the post-war governments and intellectuals fostered this type of regionalism in the first place, in order to oppose what they perceived to be "Fascism".

That is the root of the (much-exaggerated) north-south conflict. It has nothing to do with the Middle Ages, nor any other anachronistic nonsense. It was born only in the last few decades.

7) Finally you claim that "[Southern Italians] have no interest in being the work force and at the same time scapegoats of Northern Italians, whom they regard as northern barbarians and look with contempt rather than envy."

What delusional world are you living in? Is this what they teach at the University of Istanbul?

First of all, there is zero statistical evidence that southerners are "the work force" for northerners. If the employment rates of the last 150 years are anything to judge by, it is pretty clear which regions are working the most and which are working less. And we all know which regions those are, so it is needless to name them. Moreover, it was not northern Italians who enslaved southerners or exploited them by forcing them into the workforce against their will: it was southerners who eagerly migrated en masse towards the north after World War II. And there they live far better than they would have if they had remained in their depressed regions.

Blogger said...

[6/7] Reply to Onur Dincer:

Secondly, northerners do not view southerners as "scapegoats", nor do southerners view northers as "barbarians" nor do they "look [upon them] with contempt". These ridiculous assertions could only be repeated by a foreigner whose entire knowledge of Italy derives from Wikipedia, Facebook groups or 4chan posts. These kinds are falsities and tropes are equally as offensive and untrue as those racial stereotypes peddled by 19th century nordicists, which makes a person like you no better than them.

There are millions of Italians in Italy with regional ancestry from all parts of Italy (north, center, south, islands), as well as a significant number of Italians with ancestry from old lands that today are no longer part of Italy. None of them view things in terms of "north vs. south", nor do the majority of other Italians have any hostility toward Italians from other regions.

There is only a small but loud minority — consisting of two tiny factions — which attack each other in this way: the supporters of the old Lega Nord on the one side, and the Marxist-inspired neo-bourbonist types on the other side. These two groups are the only ones peddling this kind of divisive north-south rhetoric and victim-oppressor narrative. No one else believes in those things; and these two annoying factions — neither of which have any presence on the national stage — are opposed by the majority of the country.

And this is said not only by experience (which, in any case, would still be of infinitely greater value than the claims of some foreigner like yourself) but also by data.

In 2011 the Italians were asked about Italian unification. These were the results:

Italian Unity was a:
- Positive thing (89.1%)
- Negative thing (7.5%)
- Neither negative nor positive (2.3%)
- No response (1.1%)

These were the results based on geography:

Italian Unity was a positive thing:

- North-West (84.9%)
- North-East (83.8%)
- Center-North (95.3%)
- Center-South (93.9%)
- South & Islands (89.8%)

(Source: Sondaggio Demos & Piper Intesa Sanpaolo, Marzo 2011)

Blogger said...

[7/7] Reply to Onur Dincer:

Now piss off and stop spreading misinformation about my country.

Palermo Trapani said...


Thank you for your post. There are indeed lots of "trolls" who like to pit the Italian regions vs. each other. I was in Sicily for 3 weeks and Rome a few days last summer. I made many friends in Sicily and I never heard 1 person say negative things about another region of Italy. I rented property in the local towns I stayed and 1 couple that I became friends with always said that every region of Italy has something wonderful to offer as they encouraged me to come back and visit other regions of Italy.

I agree some of the North-South tensions that I heard in the South, which was rare, was indeed young people being influenced by marxist ideology.

Buon Natale

Italianthro said...


I quoted from 6 different sources, most of them books published by universities. You can't just say they're all biased and wrong because their authors are Americans or "Communists" or whatever, and then give your own biased opinions and unsupported claims instead. Just because Nelson J. Moe writes about Gramsci doesn't mean he's a Marxist making up facts (he also writes about other Italian history, the Mafia and the culture of Naples according to his bio). He quotes Ragionieri and Arfé a couple times in a totally different part of the book, and those are just 2 sources in a bibliography that's 35 pages long!

Your example of the "Nordicist" British author in The Penny Cyclopaedia is also ridiculous. He's talking only about Sicilians, and even though his claims about mixing are inaccurate, they're based on the historical fact of Moorish occupation of Sicily, which he mentions along with the Normans, Spaniards etc. They're also just neutral descriptive claims, not political attacks. It was Northern Italians, and the Southern Niceforo, and the Jewish Lombroso who claimed that the entire South was Arab/African/Semitic and that this caused its backwardness.

As for Cavour, all I can say is that the two dates you give (October and November 1860) are both AFTER the date of May 1860 given by Doyle, so they don't refute his claim. Cavour probably didn't start traveling through Italy until unification got closer to being a reality. And the point is that it wasn't only him but most Northerners who didn't know anything about the South before unification. (Btw, the source for that claim is not Vittorio Messori, it's Denis Mack Smith of Cambridge and Oxford U. — he wasn't a Marxist or an American.)

You say I use works that blame everything on the North, but they don't do that. I'm trying to understand the truth about ALL the sources of the racial myth — Northern and Southern, Italian and non-Italian. You're the one trying to avoid any responsibility by blaming the whole thing on British Nordicists and Marxist revisionists.

Aitor said...

To be fair, Nitti does show a transition under unification of Neopolitan production and consumption of its own produce towards importation of foodstuffs from the north. I would say a balanced view should be sought according to which post-risorgimento policies did militate against southern development, but partly out of the inertia of having some regions neighbor developed receptive (trans-alpine) markets and others being geographically removed. Spanish policy for the past 200 years explicitly protected the Catalan textile industry in order to help export into France and left Galician industry, for example, underdeveloped. The point now is to use new sectors and even the maritime silk road to develop the south.

As for the desire to make oneself accepted by what is perceived as a community of successful states by taking their prejudices on board but projecting them elsewhere ('I am like you, I accept that you're right about Italians, but *I'm* not Italian, those southerners are'), this is historically played out. Spain and Italy have the highest life expectancy in the world along with Japan (see Bloomberg Health Index and Healthcare Efficiency Index). Whatever else they're doing, they are in crucial regards successful examples of modernity.

Having said this, I've been to the south plenty. They are pretty straightforwardly patriotic, or that's my impression. And the concept of Italian unity is too old a project to throw out as if it were Garibaldi's innovation (from the Roman era administrative unite, the united Italy under Theodoric the Great, the attempt to unify the peninsula by Cola di Rienzo, etc.)

Palermo Trapani said...


Is is not true that during the period before Garibaldi, Naples was by far the most wealthiest City in Italy, Palermo was actually 2nd. The Kingdom of Two Sicilies was for the most part a functioning government. The Bank of Naples had more assets than any Bank in Italy prior to unification. However, there were some agreements made by Northern Industrialist and Rome (which was the agreed upon Capitol) that the National Bank of Italy would be in the North, I think in Milan. Thus, all of the Assets of the Bank of Naples were transferred to Milan.

Given this decision, the ability to raise capital by Southern Italian entrepreneurs and businessmen was now limited whereas the ability to raise capital in the North was now enhanced. The resulting economic recession that hit Sicily and Southern Italy for the last 1/3 of the 19th century is what 1) caused the mass migration of peoples from there and 2) is what set the stage for the Industrialized North and agricultural South comparisons we have today as if they always existed.

With that said, I was in Sicily for 3 weeks last summer and I did not find any anti Italian State or secessionist sentiments. I think Sicily has a chance to strengthen its Economy with tourism (archaeological parts at Agrigento, Segasta and Selinunte, piazza Armerinia are incredible) as I am sure the ones in Syracuse are (have not been there and grow their local wine industry as Sicilian wines in the last 10 years have really here in the USA been getting attention as challenging the best that Tuscany and Piedmont produce.


Nero said...

Hello Italianthro! Great post! And these comments are sublime! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Lucian said...

I am Romanian and I also know about these artificial schisms created in a country by both domestic and foreign agents, some of them interested, others just idiots (e.g. some frustrated Romanians from Transylvania, i.e. "Northerners", who think they are superior to those in the South, especially some poorer counties in the Danube Plain, i.e. the Sicily of Romania). I have a few points to make:
- The so-called North-South divide in Italy is a gross exaggeration and, for some frustrated people, a real obsession. Whatever small differences exist, they were most likely present in ancient times as well and they are in fact to be expected, considering the big geographical distance from the Alps to Sicily. On the other hand, this variation is smaller than internal variations present in other European countries, e.g. Germany and Britain, as has been shown on this blog. I also believe that these variations were even bigger before the Roman unification of Italy. The Romans actually increased the homogeneity of the country, as a result of their settlement policies (they colonized their own country for centuries, so to speak). Sometimes, they also relocated the more rebel tribes to other parts of Italy and had their territories settled by veterans.
- The notion of "Italy" became even wider under Diocletian, who reorganized the Empire and set the Italian borders beyond the Alps and in Dalmatia, a recognition of the fact that those adjacent territories were fully romanized and as much Italian as the former Italy created by Caesar and Augustus.
- Ancient pre-Greek Sicily was populated by peoples settled there from the peninsula: Sicels, Sicanians, Elymians. For the Elymians, there were some speculations and legends about a Greek origin, but recent studies support their Ligurian origin. The same for the Sicanians. The Sicels are even believed to be closely related to the Latins. Other Italic tribes from South Italy who settled there were the Morgetes and Ausones. The Greeks also colonized the island and it is estimated by some that they reached a proportion of 1/3 of the island population at one time, but this probably included the Greek-speaking native Sicilians as well (many Sicels became Hellenized and founded cities alongside the Greeks, a sort of "joint ventures"). At the same time, other Italics (Mamertines, Sileraioi etc., i.e. Campanian and Bruttian mercenaries) were settling in Sicly. In the centuries after the Roman conquest of Sicily, the Greek element must have decreased significantly, as many Romans and Italics were settled there. All Greek-Sicilian cities were occupied one by one and received Italian colonists. In my opinion, the Greek element today is below 15%, but, of course, still discernible based on DNA tests.

Palermo Trapani said...

Lucian: I read your post and I concur. As I said in my previous post, I visited Sicily for 3 weeks. The Segesta Park, the official park books sold there clearly show the archaeological evidence is that the Elymi or Elymians were Ligurian (Italic) Tribe. The Sicels and the Morgante were closely related Italic tribes as well, part of Oenotrians which is likely the Major Tribe they are part of . The Ausones settled in the Lipari Islands circa 1300 BC and were establishing trading routes between Campania and Milazzo in Messina shortly there after which resulted in Ausones settling in Sicily. So Sicily even before the Phoenicians founded ports on the West Coast (They were never colonizers, but rather Sea people), Greeks and Romans, there were numerous Italic Tribes all over Sicily that just ethnically and culturally just blended in, Ligurians, Oentrians (Sicels, Morgante), Ausones. Greeks would have not been from a ancient Source DNA perspective not radically different (predominantly Early European Farmer DNA) and the Romans would have brought in Roman and Latin Tribe DNA from Lazio-Tusany, etc.